My problem is that I will be heading out to the Alps for my 5th consecutive season and everything is more expensive once you're there. I could do with replacing my skis, but the best prices are from here in the UK (or probably in the US if I didn't have to pay duty!) before I leave. Of course, this means that I'm buying blind. Have you done it? Did it work out, or not? How do you decide without a demo?
Here are the requisite answers to the standard questions:
1) Italy - most likely MonteRosa ski area.
2) I love tearing it up on groomers, but I also like trees and messing about on the sides/off piste in up to a foot of fresh. I'd like to improve that skill this winter.
3) I will ski anywhere from 40 - 75 days this year.
4) I'm advanced after 4 straight seasons skiing upwards of 80 days a year up to now. Can ski most everything, but struggle with off piste & moguls. Definitely not expert. I generally improve quite a bit every season though.
5) I'm 5'11" & 170lbs.
If it means anything I'm 34 next month & only learnt at 30.
After learning the fast carving style in Sestriere (home of the 2006 Olympics) where there are no queues and no people, I progressed quickly from nervous to fast & aggressive. Starting out on Salomon 24hrs and Head Magnums in 165, I bought an ex-demo pair of 175 MX78s after reading on here for 300€. They pushed me, made me better & forced me to improve my technique drastically. They've been my only skis ever since. But they've seen better days and have been repaired multiple times. Whilst still amazing on piste, they don't allow for all the fun I want to have in the trees, off piste and on the sides.
Looking for something with my float & a little more all round ability without punishing me when chilling, I spent a day last season on a pair of 184 K2 Amp Rictor 90s. This was a revelation. They were just as quick as the Kastles, but more forgiving & floated better in the 6 inches we'd had over night. The edge hold felt almost as good, but whether it was the wider waste, my technique, or the design, they weren't 100% the equals of my skis in that department.
Back to the present day. I've found the Rictors with bindings for £456 ($700), but the same website offers ex-demo FX85HPs with bindings for £450!!!
Love my MX78s and every time I tried something else over the past 3 winters, it didn't match up. The Rictors were the only thing close. This winter I want to progress into the off piste a little more and perhaps a few more jumps and backwards skiing etc. So I think an FX would give me the flexibility I need without losing too much of what makes my MXs great.